Los Santos, San Andreas – The well-run public debate between State Representatives last weekend featured an in-depth look at each of the candidates present. The moderators directed two specific questions at each candidate, allowing them the chance to respond fully before their competition could pose a rebuttal. Kaori Prince made her mark on the event with two very interesting topics.
What is something that the current legislation body should have done but did not?
Candidate Prince started by commending the current government for doing the best they could over the time they were in office. She acknowledged that it’s easier to look back and criticize the past than it is to act in the present, and that legislation is driven by the citizen’s current needs more than our ability to predict the future.
Travis Ray seemed surprised by this take, given her pro-business platform. He felt that easing the burden on business owners should have been a priority for the current legislature, asserting that salary increases for government works have far outpaced salaries in the private sector. With the Ice Cream For Americans Act proposing a $75 universal basic income for every citizen, he questioned why there has been no consideration of the impact on small businesses, which currently only pay ~$80 for most salaried workers.
Jacob Wheeler later pointed out that while a $75 UBI sounds like it would be just $5 lower than an $80 employed salary, that’s not actually how payroll works in this state. Rather, everyone receives their $40 UBI today, and then private sector employees make an additional $40 or more on top of that. Thus, increasing the UBI would also increase salaries for small business employees. Despite this correction, however, Candidate Wheeler opposes the Ice Cream For Americans Act himself, preferring to instead apply increases to small business salaries while leaving the UBI payment at its current levels.
Kaori felt these were all good concerns, but that State Representatives should be focused on passing bills to help people, which isn’t how business salaries are determined. She referred to conversations she’s had with the Department of Commerce & Labor to better understand their needs, with the understanding that addressing the needs of the department would necessarily improve things for business owners that work closely with them.
You’re missing the scope of what the legislature is for. It’s for primarily looking at problems in the state, people bringing problems to the State, and then passing bills to help people.Kaori Prince
Candidate Prince also referenced one of her core policies, the Economic Enrichment Program. This initiative would provide incentives for businesses that open in areas with fewer economic opportunities than the bustling city of Los Santos, such as Harmony, Sandy Shores, Grapeseed, and Paleto. Jacob Wheeler spoke on this topic as well, challenging Kaori to explain how this initiative would fairly treat existing businesses both inside the city as well as the rest of San Andreas. They went back and forth on this topic several times before the moderators had to cut them short.
How would you encourage economic growth outside of the city of Los Santos?
This next question gave Kaori Prince the opportunity to refer back to her campaign platform, once again bringing up the Economic Enrichment Program she proposes. One example of how she’d seek to incentivize business growth across the state would be grants to provide startup funding for entrepreneurs seeking to establish themselves in less populated areas.
Jacob Wheeler again entered the rebuttal fray, asserting that giving grants to certain businesses would cut into overall government profits, which are primarily funded by two departments: Public Works, and the Department of Commerce & Labor. He felt that providing these incentives only to certain companies would essentially mean that businesses in Los Santos would be subsidizing the establishment of other businesses with no benefit to themselves.
Our Weazel News analysts, however, point out that this is the whole point of taxes, which Mr. Wheeler seems to misunderstand. He overlooked the fact that government funds exist to be invested in the betterment of the State, which is partially driven by government programs such as that proposed by Candidate Prince, as an example. After all, what use is a government that doesn’t invest back into its own people? What are our taxes for otherwise? Additionally, his proposal to lower business taxes for everyone would necessarily cut into government profits, so his concern over the impact of Kaori’s proposal on the treasury seems disingenuous at best.
Candidate Prince pointed this out as well, stating that while she doesn’t favor higher taxes, the hard truth of economics is that in order to fund programs beneficial to the State and its citizens, that money has to come from somewhere. She also mentioned that taxes don’t have to come directly from businesses; they can also be levied on fuel, food, or other areas of economic activity. Kaori felt that the Economic Enrichment Program will require hard work hammering out the specifics, but she was passionate in pronouncing the potential benefits make that work worthwhile.
Despite the question focusing on economic activity outside Los Santos, Travis Ray pointed out that businesses are not equitably distributed throughout the city either. He gave examples of there only being one active business on the south side and only two in East Los Santos. He mentioned that there is plenty of space in those parts of the city to open new businesses, and that there hadn’t been a resolution to the Vanilla Unicorn auction yet. With a plethora of industrial warehouses, oil production, and more, Candidate Ray feels there is much economic opportunity to bring to those areas of Los Santos.
Weazel News Fact Check: There are at least six active businesses on the south side, such as Carr's Wash, Clint's Used Car Sales, Grove LTD, Heroes Garage, Mosley's Dealership, and Vinewood Self Storage. There are also at least three active businesses on the east side, including Highline Autos, The Irishmen Whiskey, and Shadowcade. Between the two areas, there are twenty-one licensed businesses according to the official Department of Commerce & Labor map. Since the debate, the Vanilla Unicorn auction has been resolved, and the business is fully licensed.
Kaori Prince pointed out that while the opportunity is there, it also requires entrepreneurs to want to open businesses in those areas. Unlike the rest of the state which is more remote and less populated, these areas of the city are just as conveniently located as other neighborhoods. However, she feels that the Economic Enrichment Program can help any struggling neighborhood or township throughout San Andreas. While Candidate Prince plans to focus first on the locations that seem to need the most incentives, that doesn’t mean the government couldn’t direct funds toward additional parts of the state.
While the two questions posed were different in nature, Kaori Prince did an admirable job controlling the resulting narrative to focus on her core platform. This allowed her to play to her strengths as a candidate, and she deftly fielded insightful criticisms from her opponents, emerging the stronger candidate in each exchange. Given the confidence and authority with which Candidate Prince addressed her key policy, the Economic Enrichment Program, it’s no wonder that only Jacob Wheeler and Travis Ray were willing to try a rebuttal. The other candidates were uncharacteristically silent, and that speaks well for what they thought of her performance in the moment. If voters are concerned with bringing economic growth to San Andreas sans Los Santos itself, they will surely consider whether Kaori Prince is the candidate for them!
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